As you’re reading this, we’re heading into the final third of 2012. We’re a long way from those goals or resolutions or wishes expressed last January.
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So how’s it going? Do you despise me right now for asking? Or are you delighted I’ve given you a chance to pat yourself on the back?
Most of us are somewhere in between, I’d venture.
Let’s start here. I’m wondering if you know off the top of your head what you said you’d do back in the beginning of the year. If it’s something you’ve been working on, you can probably call it up quickly. If you need to go find it written down somewhere, then I’m pretty sure it was an idea expressed and forgotten.
The latter scenario is the one I’d like to examine. When you look at what you set out to do eight months ago, why did it fall off your radar? Was it not a well-formed goal to begin with? Did your plans change? Or is it something that you still long to do, something that nags at you and makes you wistful when you allow yourself to think about it?
Yes, I thought so.
My recommendation for that is simple: Do something.
Not something huge. Not something drastic. Not something life altering.
Something simple. Just take some action.
Don’t screech and hurl things at the screen because you think this is a copout. Whether it’s from personal experience or from helping countless clients further their goals, I have learned that most of the time people do not bother with small steps or they begin them and don’t continue. Instead they want instant gratification, a Band-Aid, and little sacrifice. They don’t see that getting that wish to come true requires consistent, persistent action.
So when I say ‘do something’ the idea is to light a fire under yourself. There are so many ways to do that.
If, for example, your goal is to get a job that suits your skill set better than the one you have now and your hunt hasn’t been successful, your action could be to set aside two hours each week to learn more about what hiring managers look for and what they have to say on the subject.
In a recent Harvard Business Review piece called “If You’re Looking for a Job, Get Out of Your Own Way” (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/if_youre_looking_for_a_job_get_out.html) writer John Lees describes six types of frustrated job hunters. It’s a great tool to identify your type among them and tweak what you’re doing.
“Here's an important reality check: employers have a strong sense that the way you look for a job is the way you will act on the job,” Lees writes.
That can be methodical or haphazard, diligent or sporadic, open to possibilities or exhibiting tunnel vision. Here, reading an article is a small step. Following advice gleaned from the article can be another small step. Each week, something.
The forward motion will be surprisingly swift if you stick to it. That is where so many of us get hung up – sticking to it.
Health goals are the most obvious example of this. We get caught up in the mindset of “diet” and that comes with big sweeping changes that feel jarring. Plus, we see them as temporary – “I’ll sacrifice and not eat what I really want to, lose weight and then boom, I’ll bring back all those things I missed.”
We all know that doesn’t work, right? Neither does working out whole hog or not at all. The same mindset comes in. Drastic followed by a crash.
Instead, incorporate gradual changes and have patience. Let the rewards play out.
Are you, like me, watching too many reruns on TV? What else could be done with that 30 minutes, say, two nights a week? A goal could get some traction in there, couldn’t it?
If you’re bored with your routine, walk or drive a new route. Clean out one drawer and discover a “new” old scarf. Grab a crayon and color with your child. Call someone who would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you. Wear a shade of blue that brings out your eyes. Read some poetry.
Simple actions that free you and unlock patterns.
Resolve yourself to knocking off one thing on your wish/goal list by the end of the year or at the very least having it well in hand.
What’s missing? Take a step towards it in 2012. There’s still time.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.